Yummy goodness

Yesterday, I took a bite from an apple, looked up at the sky and said thank you. I eat an apple about every day, and I’ve never done that before. Picked up at one of the many apple stands at Eastern Market, I don’t even remember what kind it was. But I tasted pure yummy goodness.

The change in season brings stuff like crisp apples and feelings of thankfulness, I suppose. Last month, I went to New Orleans and it was a beautiful, sunny 70 degrees there.

Beignets, powdered sugar, coffee that is just the right color and four wonderful, beautiful best friends.
Beignets, powdered sugar, coffee that is exactly the right color and four wonderful, beautiful best friends to share it all with. I miss them.

I miss fall too. It’s full-on winter now. I scramble to find stuff to bake just to stand in front of the warm oven. I walk home in the dark after work, I only ever want to drink coffee and red wine, and delicious dark beers are here!

My (and Mimi's) absolute favorite caramel-y, toast-y, slightly sweet carbonated beverage.
My (and Mimi’s) favorite caramel-y, toast-y, slightly sweet carbonated beverage.

I love being in the kitchen. Especially in the winter. It’s always the warmest room in the house. I don’t know if it’s the constant taste testing that keeps my body warm, the movement of chopping and measuring or the fact that most of what you do in the kitchen requires heat. But I feel the most comfortable there.

If I’m not comfortable, I’m not a very fun person to be around. This is why I’m so picky about shoes, why I cling to routines, why I unfailingly carry snacks, why I wear a winter coat made for farmers doing chores in negative degrees and why my slippers sit waiting for me at the side of the bed and by the door every morning and evening. I sound 90 years old, but it’s true.

Warm, yummy dinners are an essential part of comfort and winter. It’s a time when you absolutely should savor the time in front of a warm oven, roast bright vegetables in warming spices, slow cook some meat or bake a big loaf of bread instead of throwing leftovers onto a salad and heading out the door to catch the last rays of sun. There’s no sun left at 5 p.m. anymore, silly. Stay in and cook.

Getting up on weekend mornings, making coffee and cooking up a big brunch to warm our tummies is definitely the best feeling in the world.

Pumpkin pancakes with coconut oil, honey and oat flour. Topped with almond butter, bananas, raspberries and yogurt.
Pumpkin pancakes with coconut oil, honey and oat flour. Topped with almond butter, bananas, raspberries and yogurt.

Some days just feel like soup days. Found in this cookbook, this warming, spicy/sweet soup was perfect when the weather turned cold Thursday night.

Chopped apples, garlic, onions, butternut squash, ginger and chicken stock, boiled together and pureed in my handy purple hand blender. Served with roasted squash seeds and of course a generous dash of cayenne.
Chopped apples, garlic, onions, butternut squash, ginger and chicken stock, boiled together and pureed with my purple hand blender. Served with roasted squash seeds and a generous dash of cayenne. I could feel the heat return to my fingers, toes and tummy.

Other comforts this month have included cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes topped with tahini and yogurt, and stove-top hot chocolate made with four simple ingredients: Almond milk, cocoa, honey and vanilla. Not going to lie, I once added a fifth ingredient that was clear, tasteless and also warming. It starts with a v and Russians love it …

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